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Multi-skilling, Delegation and Continuous Process Improvement: A Comparative Analysis of US-Japanese Work Organizations

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  • Hodaka Morita

Abstract

This paper focuses on the stylized differences in work organizations and labour market practices between the United States and Japan concerning multi-skilling, delegation, continuous process improvement, human capital accumulation and labour turnover. It presents a model that addresses interconnections among three key features of work organizations (multi-skilling, delegation and continuous process improvement), and examines ways in which they are related to labour market practices. It analyses strategic interactions among firms concerning their choices of work organization, and shows that strategic complementarity arising from labour market externality can yield the multiplicity of equilibria that provides a systematic explanation for the differences. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2005.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 72 (2005)
Issue (Month): 285 (02)
Pages: 69-93

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:72:y:2005:i:285:p:69-93

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References

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  1. Carmichael, H.L. & Macleod, W.B., 1991. "Multiskilling, Technical Change and the Japanese Firm," Cahiers de recherche 9112, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  2. Acemoglu, D. & Pischki, J.S., 1996. "Why Do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," Working papers 96-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
  4. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
  5. Morita, Hodaka, 2001. "Choice of Technology and Labour Market Consequences: An Explanation of U.S.-Japanese Differences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 29-50, January.
  6. Itoh, Hideshi, 1992. "Cooperation in Hierarchical Organizations: An Incentive Perspective," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 321-45, April.
  7. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Aoki, Masahiko, 1986. "Horizontal vs. Vertical Information Structure of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 971-83, December.
  9. Itoh, Hideshi, 1994. "Job design, delegation and cooperation: A principal-agent analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 691-700, April.
  10. Greenwald, Bruce C, 1986. "Adverse Selection in the Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 325-47, July.
  11. Mincer, Jacob & Higuchi, Yoshio, 1988. "Wage structures and labor turnover in the United States and Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 97-133, June.
  12. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  13. Itoh, Hideshi, 1991. "Incentives to Help in Multi-agent Situations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 611-36, May.
  14. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "Rationalizability, Learning, and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1255-77, November.
  15. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
  16. Chun Chang & Wang, Yijiang, 1995. "A framework for understanding differences in labor turnover and human capital investment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 91-105, September.
  17. Mansfield, Edwin, 1988. "Industrial R&D in Japan and the United States: A Comparative Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 223-28, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Junichiro Ishida, 2006. "Dynamically Sabotage-Proof Tournaments," OSIPP Discussion Paper 06E001, Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University.
  2. DeVaro, Jed & Farnham, Martin, 2011. "Two perspectives on multiskilling and product-market volatility," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 862-871.
  3. Kambayashi, Ryo & Kato, Takao, 2011. "Long-term Employment and Job Security over the Last Twenty-Five Years: A Comparative Study of Japan and the U.S," IZA Discussion Papers 6183, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Jirjahn, Uwe & Heywood, John S., 2013. "Variable Pay, Industrial Relations and Foreign Ownership: Evidence from Germany," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79829, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  5. Uwe Jirjahn & Erik Poutsma, 2011. "The Use of Performance Appraisal Systems: Evidence from Dutch Establishment Data," Research Papers in Economics 2011-02, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
  6. Krishnan, Murugappa (Murgie) & Srinivasan, Ashok, 2007. "How do shop-floor supervisors allocate their time?," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 97-115, January.
  7. Michael Waldman, 2012. "Theory and Evidence in Internal LaborMarkets
    [The Handbook of Organizational Economics]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.

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